Monthly Archives: February 2008

Creationism, Stupidity, Linked

According to a poll this week, approximately 31 percent of surveyed Americans believe Roger Clemens is telling the truth about never taking performance-enhancing drugs.This is about the same percentage of Americans who believe in creationism, and still insist George Bush is doing a good job. And here’s my theory: These are all the same people, the true believers. If you cross-indexed these polls, you would likely find that Gallup and Quinnipiac just keep tapping into the same wacky group. …

The Daily Blahg

My Uncle Is A Man Named Steve (Not A Monkey)

i-22a38e80e5083d393c46a5634e57583b-unclesteve.jpgThat is the title of the First Place science fair project from a baptist science fair.The description of the project:

Cassidy Turnbull (grade five) presented her uncle, Steve. She also showed photographs of monkeys and invited fairgoers to note the differences between her uncle and the monkeys. She tried to feed her uncle bananas, but he declined to eat them. Cassidy has conclusively shown that her uncle is no monkey.

Very cute. Too bad little Cassidy’s brain is now hobbled forever. (Well, maybe not. She’s only in fifth grade. She could get over it….)This is from here.. You will find a number of equally endearing examples of christian creationist science fair winners., such as “Women Were Designed For Homemaking” and “Using Prayer To Microevolve Latent Antibiotic Resistance In Bacteria”Too good to be true.

The Origin of the Chicken

From whence the humble chicken? Gallus gallus is a domesticated chicken-like bird (thus, the name “chicken”) that originates in southeast Asia. Ever since Darwin we’ve known that the chicken originated in southeast Asia, although the exact details of which one or more of several possible jungle fowls is the primal form has been debated. The idea that more than one wild species contributed to the early chicken has been on the table for a long time, though perhaps not as long as the chickens themselves have been on the table. Continue reading The Origin of the Chicken

Roy Gould: WorldWide Telescope

Science educator Roy Gould and Microsoft’s Curtis Wong give an astonishing sneak preview of Microsoft’s new WorldWide Telescope — a technology that combines feeds from satellites and telescopes all over the world and the heavens, and weaves them together holistically to build a comprehensive view of our universe. (Yes, it’s the technology that made Robert Scoble cry.)

(A microsoft project. So this is probably gonna cost ya, somehow) Continue reading Roy Gould: WorldWide Telescope

We ain’t outta Texas yet … Creationist Stacked School Board Looms on the Horizon

It turns out that there are TWO (not just the previously reported Barney Maddox) distinct threats to the delicate pro- vs. anti-science balance on the Texas School Board.I had earlier alerted you to trouble brewing in Texas, with Full Blown Creationist Nuthead Barney Maddox poised to take the swing seat on the Board of Education there. (PZ has also posted on this.)Now, Wired has a piece this developing story. Continue reading We ain’t outta Texas yet … Creationist Stacked School Board Looms on the Horizon

When the Maya sang the blues …

… it was time to skip town.I’m going to Mayaland in a few weeks. I know nothing about Mayan archaeology, even though I attended graduate school at one of the world’s premier locals for the study of Mesoamerican archaeology. Since I was working towards a double PhD (in Biological Anthropology and Archaeology) I was allowed to “skip” one major subfield in each. Feeling ambitious, I skipped New World Archaeology (since I was already a New World archaeologist) and Anatomy (since I was really interested in Anatomy). That way I actually covered everything. But, my New World Archaeology stops at the Rio Grande. So it will be an interesting, educational visit!Anyway, there is an interesting story in the NYT about the Maya. Continue reading When the Maya sang the blues …

Polar Bears Under Threat …

As usual. Along with seabirds, owing to decisions made by the US government.i-7c1e573d79649747b45f84dcd8800681-polar_bear.jpg

The US Government has auctioned leases to drill for oil and gas in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska, putting at risk internationally important concentrations of seabirds, and a number of threatened bird species, including the Critically Endangered Kittlitz’s Murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostri.Audubon (BirdLife in the USA) says the Chukchi Sea is also home to one-tenth of the world’s remaining Polar Bears Ursus maritimus, and the only population of Bowhead Whales Balaena mysticetus not yet considered by the IUCN to be threatened.At least 15 species of birds on Audubon Alaska’s WatchList use marine and coastal habitats in the Chukchi Sea. The WatchList identifies declining and vulnerable species and populations of birds.Bird species at risk include the Vulnerable Steller’s Eider Polysticta stelleri and Near Threatened Ivory Gull Pagophila eburnea. There are two major seabird colonies on the East (Alaskan) coast of the Chukchi Sea, supporting an estimated 850,000 breeding birds between them, mostly Thick-billed Uria lomvia and Common Guillemot (or Murre) U. aalge, and Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla. Kittlitz’s Murrelet breeds at both sites.

Read the rest here at BirdLife International

Rare Birds Yearbook 2008

i-44fb61d67794ab3d4b746de27976cb63-rare_birds.jpgRare Birds Yearbook 2008: The World’s 189 Most Threatened Birds is, according to BirdLife International, proving to be a great success.

Last year’s Rare Birds Yearbook photo competition was a huge success with more than 1,000 images being submitted and the best were presented in Rare Birds Yearbook 2008, with each published photographer receiving a free copy of the book.The photo competition for Rare Birds Yearbook 2009 has just been launched and will run until 31 May 2008. This year sees a few exciting differences in the competition format.A new category, with a top prize of a travel-friendly Minox telescope, has been introduced for the best photo – or painting – of those species that did not feature with photos in the 2008 edition.There is a completely new contest for this year, a writer’s competition on the subject “My Encounter with a Critically Endangered Bird”. The first prize for this is a copy of the wonderful The Fifty Rarest Birds of the World. This leatherbound volume features stunning images painted by world-renowned wildlife artist Blake Twigden.An important objective of Rare Birds Yearbook is to create funds to save these Critically Endangered birds. That is why for every book sold £4 is donated to BirdLife International, to be used exclusively for the protection and conservation of these species.